Being a military spouse grants you a complimentary membership in a particular club where you are often alone while your partner in life is absent for an extended period. Your spouse might be away attending a school or training, have been selected for a home or abroad mission, or is away for another military-related reason. Shifting all responsibilities onto one person and the extended months of loneliness can cause anxiety and depression even in the strongest of characters. Emotions run high, resources are stretched, and couples are tested. For Military Spouse Appreciation Day, I wanted to share some tips and military spouse appreciation day ideas about how you can support a military spouse in your life.
How to Support a Military Spouse
Military life can be lonely when your spouse is away. Invite your friend to join you for a stroll in the park, out to dinner, an event, or just to hang out. Remember her on holidays and try to include her in your family’s celebrations. Likewise, kids will struggle to adjust to this time with only one parent. Play dates, good role models, and support from their friends is vital, so they don’t feel left out or abandoned.
Bring a meal or care package.
Cooking for one quickly turns into frozen dinners. Bringing over a fresh family-friendly meal is such a wonderful gift, especially at the beginning of deployment or extended school. Care packages are incredible! Even some nice toiletries or some tea or coffee can help encourage the military spouse and show your support.
Helping with the kids so she gets a break.
I’m sure she would love some childcare but don’t just say “if you need me to help watch the kids let me know.” She isn’t likely to ask, so offer something specific. Invite the kids over for a playdate so she has some time to herself to get a haircut or go to the spa. Or gift her some babysitting.
Assist with household duties or provide a handyman.
Your military spouse likely has her hands full enough, and all the household tasks can get daunting. Can you volunteer yourself or your spouse to help with any repairs that pop up, or lawn care, for example? When we had a nanny, she would also watch another child in our home, and we had that Dad help out with the light bulb and A/C filter replacements – anything that required ladders. That was a huge help to me when my husband was away for a year.
Ask her how she is doing, and really listen.
We, military spouses, tend to put on a tough outer shell, but that doesn’t mean we’re always keeping it together on the inside. Talk to your friend and let her vent her frustrations. Tell her what a good job she is doing. But please, please, don’t say anything like “I know how you feel, my husband travels for work a lot.”
Military life can sometimes be difficult for civilians to relate to and know how to be supportive. Still, just knowing that you have friends and a tribe to back you up when you need it is enough to keep spirits high and a positive outlook.
Is there a military spouse in your life? How do you support a military spouse?
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I think this is an absolutely wonderful compilation of ideas! I have several friends in my life who are military spouses and this is something I can really keep in mind. I can’t imagine how lonely some nights must feel <3 Thanks for the great insight! #KCACOLS
Thanks Savannah! Big hugs to your friends. Ask them if they have other suggetions to share.
tracey bowden says
Fabulous tips, I can’t imagine how hard it is being a military spouse. Especially the direct invitation, unless it’s specific I never take people up on vague ‘call if you need me’ offers #kcacols
Thanks Tracey! Yes, aren’t we all bad about asking for/accepting help?
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a military spouse, it really can’t be easy. This is a fab post to help people like me understand a bit about what military spouses actually need. x #KCACOLS
I don’t know any military spouses, but many of your ways to support one also applies to single parents. I do have a few friends who are newly single, and they would certainly appreciate any of these suggestions.
I agree. A lot of these types tips can apply to single parents, and even some to new parents with a newborn, and others who are in a difficult situation. Thanks, Dana!
Allyson Greene says
My Hubby is prior military but I did not get the privilege of being there when he was in. I do know some military spouses and I love this list! Subscribed (and not just cause you’re a Supernatural fan) #KCACOLS
Thanks Allyson! I subscribed to you too 🙂 Yay for Supernatural fans and thank your hubby for his service 🙂
Healing Mama says
This post is so important. I really think all these ideas help so much. Sometimes as a military spouse I get lonely and at times I feel like a single parent. It means so much when people offer a helping hand. Great post!
Honestly sometimes it seems easier to introduce yourself as a single parent than as a military spouse lol.
I really don’t think I could live the life of a military wife/spouse. I would hate to have all that time alone and no one to help, I really think it would sink me. It takes a lot to be strong and if you have children be a both parents on and off. It must be so confusing for young children to see one of their parents away for a long period of time…no, not the life for me I don’t think! But this is some great tips to help those that don’t really understand what it’s like #kcacols
It is quite amazing what you find out you are capable of when you have to be. It isn’t the type of life I expected I’ll tell you that, and I wouldn’t have thought I could handle it eihter.
Samantha @ Momma Wants Java says
I love this, and it’s all so true! Hubs left the military just a few months after our first was born, but I know the long separations are ROUGH! If it weren’t for work and some amazing friends, I would have lost my mind. 🙂
Those amazing friends are seriously the backbone of our survival 🙂
Cheryl @ ReimerandRuby says
Great advice! I think military spouses are one of those tough women in the world. I have not met any military spouse yet but it’s great to know these tips. Thanks for sharing! #KCACOLS
Thansk Cheryl! Military spouses definitely have to be tough to make it through these separations.
These are all such fantastic tips! Especially offering to watch her kids, and not just saying “oh just let me know” – have a plan in mind! A bit of time to yourself to regroup does every mama a world of good!
Definitely! It is hard to find time to yourself outside of your child if you’re the only caretaker (outside of work hours child care).